Panthers prop Tim Grant will make his State of Origin debut after he was named in the New South Wales team to take on Queensland in game II by coach Ricky Stuart at Rugby League Central on Sunday night.
Stuart made two changed to the side that lost 18-10 to Queensland in the opening game in Melbourne, With Grant and Manly’s Anthony Watmough coming into the side to replace injured Tony Williams and dropped Jamie Buhrer.
Buhrer only played seven minutes in his Origin debut, with Robbie Farah’s strong performance in game I doing enough to convince Stuart that he didn’t need a utility player on the bench.
Grant is the surprise inclusion to the Blues line-up and has been named to start in the number 8 jersey, pushing captain Paul Gallen back to his more accustomed lock position.
Grant, a 24-year-old St Marys junior has played 80 games for the Panthers and has played off the bench for NSW City Origin for the last two seasons.
Watmough has played seven games for the Blues, but is under an injury cloud with a shoulder injury forcing him from the field in his last two matches for the Sea Eagles.
Queensland will name their team on Tuesday and are expected to announce the same 17-man side that defeated NSW 18-10 at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.
NSW team for game II at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday, June 13.
1. Brett Stewart
2. Jarryd Hayne
3. Michael Jennings
4. Josh Morris
5. Akuila Uate
6. Todd Carney
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Tim Grant
9. Robbie Farah
10. James Tamou
11. Glenn Stewart
12. Greg Bird
13. Paul Gallen (c)
14. Trent Merrin
15. Luke Lewis
16. Ben Creagh
17. Anthony Watmough
· Just two changes to the side that lost 18-10 in the opening game
· Panthers prop Tim Grant to make his debut
· Paul Gallen moved to lock
· Anthony Watmough named, despite being under an injury cloud
· NSW name four forwards on the bench, relying on the versatility of Luke Lewis and Greg Bird in case of injury.
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